Grist List

Cities

Snap-together house is easy to assemble, hard to pay for

The good news: Some Danish architects teamed up with some British digital fabrication people to create a 1,250-square-foot house produced in a rapid prototyping machine. (A rapid prototyping machine uses computer modeling to quickly produce scale models of physical parts.) The bad news is, for a house made of Tinkertoy, it cost a bundle to build: $300,000, enough to get you a pretty decent house that would be much harder for a wolf to blow down.

Watch the opening of a 100-year-old mystery package

This mysterious package, sealed up on Aug. 26, 1912, has been kept in a museum in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, for the last 100 years. Curators there have no idea what was inside it, and know only a little about the man — a local political figure — who packaged it up. But they’re finding out RIGHT NOW. (Well, they’re giving out awards and doing traditional dances right now, but soon, time capsule!) Here’s a video about the enigmatic parcel, which may kind of make you wish they weren’t opening it: I feel like it would be more interesting to leave the …

Squid can make music videos WITH THEIR SKIN

Oh, you thought you were insane in the membrane, Cypress Hill? That’s because you didn’t see the insane membrane of this longfin squid, which is producing its own hip-hop music video in response to electrical stimuli from an iPod. 

Food

Here’s your chance to drink beer with Obama! Sort of.

The White House promises to release its beer recipe if an online petition gets 25,000 signatures.

New map keeps track of 25,000 species

Scientists and garden-variety animal lovers who want specifics about where to find particular species have reason to rejoice: A new online database called The Map of Life provides cutting-edge accuracy about the whereabouts of some 25,000 species, and it’s adding more all the time.

This rescued baby manatee is so cute we can’t stand it

There's nothing cuter than a baby manatee with a sad story that has a happy ending.

Climate & Energy

Here’s what record low sea-ice levels look like

I hope Santa has a swimsuit, because this webcam picture from the North Pole shows pools of meltwater opening up as sea ice reaches a record low. Ice coverage is predicted to drop to unprecedented levels as early as this weekend (if it hasn’t already — it takes a while to compare and collate all the data).

Glow-in-the-dark cockroaches look like Jawas

These South American fluorescent cockroaches use their glowing spots — really pits of bioluminescent bacteria — to mimic the markings of a toxic beetle, so predators will pass them by. More importantly, though, they look exactly like Jawas. Look, it’s even wearing a little bandolier!

Indonesia’s solutions to ‘train-surfing’ include concrete balls and electrocution

Trains in Indonesia are so crowded that frustrated commuters often climb on top, where it’s also crowded but at least you get some fresh air. Rather than run more trains, authorities are dealing with the “train-surfing” epidemic using methods stolen straight out of Home Alone. In the past, they’ve covered train roofs with oil, or hung concrete balls over the tracks; now they’re lowering electrical lines to make train-surfing even more dangerous than it already is.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×